WEDNESDAY AUGUST 25 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Putin Incinerates his Country
(2) EDITORIAL: Putin Activates Iran
(3) EDITORIAL: Putin Arrests Nemtsov (Again)
(4) Putin destroys Russian culture for Cash
(5) Kremlin Seething as Putin Loses Again
(6) Obama’s Failure in Abkhazia and Ossetia
NOTE: Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog details the horrifying fact that accounting major KPMG is actively supporting and funding the Putin-Jugend known as Nashi and their festival of neo-Soviet horror known as Seliger. Did somebody say “boycott”?
NOTE: On August 31 there will be a demonstration by “Article 31″ in London at 7 pm at 6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QP, in support of demonstrators’ right to peaceably assemble under Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. Your support is needed. Further information on the Facebook page.
Russia Activates a Weapon Called Iran
Would it be just fine with Russians if America were to build a nuclear plant in Georgia, fuel it up, switch it on, and then provide Georgians with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles they could use to shoot down any Russian effort to dismantle the plant were it proved Georgians were using it to work on a nuclear bomb?
We doubt it heartily.
How, then, can Russians explain their government’s decision to switch on an Iranian nuclear power plant last week, even as it supposedly participates in a new round of sanctions against Iran for violating nuclear safety standards? And what should we make of the government’s refusal to rule out deliveries of missiles to the rogue Islamic regime?
They can’t do so. This is Russian hypocrisy and duplicity at its most venal.
Boris Nemtsov, draped in his country's flag, finds out what his "prime minister" thinks about real patriotism -- Courtesy Reuters
Nemtsov Arrested, Again!
Yuri Shevchuk, unplugged, a command performance for Vladimir Putin on Pushkin Square in Moscow -- Courtesy AP
Last time, just weeks ago, former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov was arrested for signing an autograph. This time, his crime was far more serious: Waving a Russian flag. World-renown human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov was also arrested.
Nemtsov was arrested by Vladimir Putin’s jack-booted goons once again last week, before he could even set foot at the site of a demonstration in support of the Russian flag. Yuri Schevhuk, the Russian Bruce Springsteen, was forced to sing at the demonstration without amplification after Putin’s goons blocked his speakers from reaching him.
Paul Goble reports:
Just as he worked to disband Russia’s forest protection service, the consequences of which have now become all too obvious, Vladimir Putin is seeking the liquidation of the federal agency responsible for ensuring that Russian laws protecting historical and cultural monuments are observed, an action that may have equally far-reaching effects.
The proximate cause of this latest action, Kommersant suggested, was the opposition of Rosokhankultura, the agency’s Russian acronym, to the construction of the 403-meter Okhta Center for Gazprom in St. Petersburg, a project Putin supports but that most preservations argue would destroy the integrity of the North Capital’s landscape. But beyond that, Putin’s latest move, just like his destruction of the forest protection service five years ago, reflects his desire to promote business development at any cost and to push out of the way experts and activists who raise questions about the impact of what he and the Russian powers that be want to do.
The Independent reports:
An alleged arms dealer nicknamed “The Merchant of Death”, who has been pursued by global law enforcement organisations for years, is to be extradited to the US to stand trial.
The news comes amid allegations that the authorities in Thailand succumbed to persistent pressure from Washington.
A court in Bangkok ruled that the Viktor Bout, a Russian who prosecutors say sold guns to dictators and militants in war zones across Africa, South America and the Middle East, should be sent to the US to face charges that he tried to sell arms to outlawed Colombian rebels.
Wearing leg irons and an orange prison jumpsuit, the 43-year-old Russian, whose exploits have inspired Hollywood movies, vowed to prove his innocence.
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, writing in the Washington Times:
Last week, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian air force, announced that Moscow had deployed a state-of-the-art S-300 (SA-20 Favorit variant) long-range air-defense system in Abkhazia, a region of the Republic of Georgia that Russia has occupied since the August 2008 war.
Since then, Russia has recognized breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics. According to Gen. Zelin, the task of the air-defense system is “to prevent violation of Abkhaz and South Ossetian airspace and to destroy any aircraft intruding into their airspace no matter what their purpose might be.” On Saturday, Gen. Zelin announced that the Russian air force had resumed flights from the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi.
However, there is much more than defense of Abkhazia to the Russian deployment.